Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.

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November 7, 2010

Task Of Avoiding Stock Outs- Task Management

Out of Stock is a common problem that has smitten retailers immemorial. It is a part and parcel of the industry dynamics. One of the core WMS concepts can come in really handy and act as a panacea.

At the heart of operation of a modern WMS is the concept of task management. Put simplistically this concept ensures the right person at right place at the right time. WMS then doles out the work electronically via RF devices, voice systems or light systems to the best warehouse operator for the task and receives an acknowledgement that the work was performed. The system then switches to the next task. This may happen for many operators at the same time. Task interleaving is also common where different types of tasks can be combined to optimize efficiency.
Efficient task management could be put in place to avoid stock out situations. Task management could be linked to employee scheduling to optimize what staff is needed where and when, based on sales history and other factors. RF devices could be easily tied to a WMS and used effectively to avoid the stock out situations for a retailer. What is needed is an inventory source of record, wireless infrastructure and a WMS with a Task Management engine.

Consider a common business situation. A replenishment activity indicates that a location needs replenished based on the threshold level set for the SKU, and a specific task is set for the move. It goes into the queue, and is prioritized based on other variables. If it is a hot selling SKU, meaning it is increasingly in danger of going to zero at the shelf, the task rises in the queue. Warehouse operators will be instructed for their tasks at their RF terminals and they confirm it is done electronically. A task management engine would certainly provide order to the high entropy prevalent in the retail world.

Oracle WMS provides a robust task management system and a rules engine that could be used to alleviate the problem discussed above. A Warehouse Management Control Board is a tool that is available with WMS that could be used to monitor, plan, control, and execute various warehouse operations. The Warehouse Control Board enables us to view workloads across the entire warehouse, manage exceptions, and review, release, reassign, and re-prioritize tasks.

I think, problems at hand need just the due attention and a simple solution is around to address them. Retailers pan globe are using the task management concept to provide world class services to their customers. Customer is the KING, right!!

November 1, 2010

IFRS with Oracle - What standard and solutions impact the most?

Introduction of new regulations or changes in existing regulations at local or international level can lead to drastic changes for an enterprise. IFRS is one such change which would change the financial statements for ever. US markets would also be affected starting 2013 though SEC is yet to make any decisions on the start date as to when to adopt IFRS.
The key IFRS differences which would have big impact on US companies are:
1. Consolidation, Associates and Joint Ventures
2. Property Plant and Equipment
3. Employee Retirement Benefits
4. Borrowing Costs
5. Inventory valuation
Though oracle claims that it is ready for IFRS with multiple solution options like Sub ledger accounting, Oracle General Ledger or Hyperion Financial Management, some key solutions would have to be worked as per the client situation. The most complex solutions to design would be Fixed Assets and Inventories since these solutions would have sub ledger level impact

No ERP package provides an out of box solution to immediately converge to IFRS especially at sub ledger level. However let's look at some of the features of Oracle R12 which can be used at sub ledger level to achieve asset componentization and thereby comply with IFRS standard on Property plant and Equipment

FOr Propery Plan and Equipment, as per IFRS every asset need to be componentized based on its useful life and residual value. Hence in the current state For eg: an aircraft would have to be broken into Engine, Body, Seating arrangements etc to be capitalized separately. Following features of Oracle Fixed Asset subledger would be useful to converge to IFRS

a) Asset Tax book which can now post to a secondary ledger in R12 to calculate differences as per IFRS while converging to IFRS
b) Parent child asset feature to group assets after componentization
c) WEB ADI to download, make changes and upload the assets
d) Group asset feature to group assets of same class
e) Unplanned depreciation
f) Out of box Asset Impairment functionality

Infosys provides an out of box PPE (Property Plant and Equipment) convergence solution to be IFRS compliant using the above functionalities of Oracle. Infosys has been closely following IFRS and has established an IFRS center of excellence for its clients to provide proof of concepts and demos. We invite your comments and suggestions if any on this blog to handle specific client situations for PPE.

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